image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Possessions come and go in this life and plenty of emotions are poured out in the process. Those “first timers” are sweeter than sugar, but the losses, especially the ones not of our druthers, can leave a spirit downright dejected…

One of the “first timers” that stands out in my memories was my first red bicycle. It was the one with the sissy bar that scraped the bottom of the clouds, the one I got for Christmas. That first-time emotion of gain was perfectly contrasted a couple months later when someone stole it outside the newspaper office.

I can almost hear the old western twang in the voice of Rex Allen, the narrator for some old Disney movies, saying, “Yeeees… the reality of this fallen world catches up with us early and often in this life…”

With enough time, and loss of dominion over our belongings stretched over decades, life can usher in a pretty calloused perspective.

I couldn’t begin to recall all the tools I’ve had stolen. And there’s nothing quite like the feeling of standing in a parking lot questioning your sanity over where in Thee Sam world you could have sworn you parked your truck… Then slowly realizing the weight of the bowling ball in your belly that you’re stranded – someone stole it.

Being raised in a blue-collar home by transplanted Southerners in the Arizona desert has a way of tending to make a person think the 2nd Amendment is only superseded by the Good Book. We were hunting and shooting guns before we reached double digits in years.

Along the merry course of this life, I’ve had four or five guns stolen from me, but the one that really stuck in my craw the most was the machine gun I had to be registered with the FBI to get, but that was a long time ago. Around twenty-two years since the emotion of being violated, then intense anger smothered my being.

There was a time in life when I got a little sideways with the long arm of the law, but that too was way back when. That’s why I was taken aback by the call from an agent with the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms office about a year ago.

I was mildly relieved to find out that I wasn’t in trouble, but I was shocked to learn that after two decades they’d recovered my machine gun in an arrest in Northern California. It’s not often in life we get to retrieve what we’ve long since written off.

In the two plus decades that have passed since that machine gun had been stolen a lot has changed, but nothing more than me… I enjoy nice things and even some extracurricular possessions, but they don’t mean to me what they did back when I was using them to help define who I was.

It’s easy to pick and choose from the Ten Commandments and use them like a sledgehammer of judgment. It’s not nearly as easy to see our own trespasses of the words etched by the hand of God. After all, a house, a car, a boat, or even a machine gun doesn’t resemble a golden calf… but they can all be idols just the same.

If that machine gun could talk, I’ll bet it could spin some harrowing accounts of this fallen world, but like all idols made by the hands of humans, it can’t ensure us a place in heaven… maybe just the meeting of St Peter a little sooner…